‘American Idol’ Exec Producer Nigel Lythgoe Responds To ‘Morons’

'The ones that believe we manipulate everything, it drives me crazy sometimes,' he says of vocal fans.

As executive producer of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” as well as a judge on the latter — and maybe even back in the day as the choreographer of “The Apple” — Nigel Lythgoe is well versed at taking jabs from angry fans. But that doesn’t mean he’s not tempted to strike back now and again at the viewers who are convinced the producers of the shows arrange things so that their favorites will win.

“Thanks for all the personal abuse from the usual morons out there in Twitterland,” he tweeted after last Wednesday night’s “Idol.” “I personally feel Haley is the most improved contestant.”

MTV News “Idol” expert Jim Cantiello was sure Nigel was partly responding to his joking tweet, “@dizzyfeet Whew! Looks like you have a lot of Haley votes to delete tonight! ;)”

So, when Lythgoe stopped by the newsroom on Monday with “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Mary Murphy, we had to ask about his online interactions with fans.

“The ones that believe we manipulate everything, it drives me crazy sometimes,” he said of the Twitter comments he receives. ” ’How dare you let James go from “Idol”!’ ’We know that you hate Haley!’ This is just crazy. I always end up having to go, ’You morons out there …’ or something like that, and realize that I’m arguing with 7- or 8-year-olds from Wisconsin.

“It’s annoying, because ’Idol’ of all shows, really goes with what the public demands, whether we like it or not,” he insisted. “And of course we didn’t like to see Casey going. We didn’t like to see Pia going. We didn’t like to see James going. But someone has to go, by the very nature of it being a competition.”

That said, the producers do control certain aspects of the show, such as performance order. But while some fans (Cantiello included) complained about the way the top four were shuffled around for their second performances last week, Lythgoe explained that there was a very logical reason behind having James Durbin sing both first and last.

“James opened the week before,” he said. “He opened it again [last] week, which is not the great spot to be in, and then we changed him to the last [for the second song], so it was fairer. So when Standards and Practices said to us, ’Why is he opening twice?’ Well he’s opening twice because there are four songs in that first genre, he’s the uptempo one. You don’t want to open the show with a ballad, so you start with an uptempo song. And he’s last because he’s due to be last, because he’s opened the show for two weeks now.

“That was all it was,” he continued. “God forbid logic comes into a megalomaniac fan that just wants their #1 to win and everything else is: The world’s against them!”

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